>NEW ORLEANS – Nearly 20 years after Emeril Lagasse begged, borrowed and scrounged every penny he could to open his own restaurant, the celebrity chef worried it was all slipping away.
Lagasse’s 17-year run on the Food Network was over. Hurricane Katrina had caused at least a $1 million loss to his three New Orleans-based restaurants and cut his profits by a third.
But just when things were looking bleakest – bam! – Martha Stewart kicked it up a notch and the 50-year-old Lagasse is back.
“She showed up at a tough time when I thought the whole ship might be going down,” Lagasse said during a recent interview. “Basically, what I have now is a business partner.”